HOW TO PROCESS HEMP?
Though the United States is the largest purchaser of Hemp products in the world. We lack the infrastructure to support our own industry. Due to this, those who wish to grow hemp & only grow hemp will not have any place to sell to. If we want farmers to win in this industry, we require Processors to set up shop, & reignite this countries manufacturing prowess.
Out of all the Hemp industries, the Fiber industry infrastructure is most lacking, & will require the largest capital investments to setup.
Generally after harvesting fiber, you must put it through a process called Retting. This is to break down the natural glues binding the hemp fibers, through fermentation, easing manufacturing.
There are 3 Retting methods each with their own Pros & Cons, depending on your quality needs, this is an important step to consider.
Field or Dew Retting (low cost, in a humid climate, lower quality)
Water Retting (higher cost, facility required, higher quality)
Chemical Retting (highest cost, facility required, chemical output, highest quality)
The Stalk contains both the Hurd & the Bast Fiber. In order to separate these materials after Retting, we much put the stalks through a process called Decortication. This separates the Bast Fiber from the Hurd core.
The Hurd is the inner core of the Hemp Stalk. Mostly made out of cellulose, the material is similar to the wood core of a tree. This material has many possible product streams, starting as simply as animal bedding, too complex plastics.
The Bast Fiber makes up the exterior of the Hemp Stalk, similar to the bark on a tree. However unlike most bark, the Bast Fiber is made up of many long fibers which run vertically along the Stalk. These fibers have been used to make rope in the past, though are most commonly found in clothing, & a replacement for glass or carbon fibers in the automotive industry.
Unlike the Fiber Industry, there are more parts in place to support the production & manufacturing of grain. However, much of the supply chain will require some conversion. So there are still opportunities to build out this network.
After the grain has been combined, it has a few paths it can take, depending on the end product.
The grain or seeds consist of 3 primary components. The hard outer shell or hull, the meat of the seed, & the oil extracted by pressing the seeds.
In order to remove the shell of the seed, which can be ground up into a protein powder, a Dehuller must be used. These machines can be found for other grains or seed, through may require some modifications.
After removing the shell, you are left with the soft seeds inside, which are referred to as Hemp Hearts. These generally contain between 35-50% oil, & can be sold as is, to be added to salads, too smoothies, & much more.
HEMP SEED OIL
In order to get Hemp Seed Oil, you must press the seeds in an Oil Press. Though the oil can’t be used for cooking oil, due to its low boiling point. It is highly nutritious, containing not only the 9 essential amino acids, but all 20 amino acids. It can make a great dressing or can be taken straight.